HAHIRA— Curt Johnson’s 7th grade Engineering Technology classes, at Hahira Middle School, completed the Design and Modeling unit titled “Foot Orthosis Instant Design Challenge.” The problem for this design challenge was to design, build, and test a prototype of an ankle foot orthosis (AFO) for a patient with Cerebral Palsy. Before starting the design process, students were given an overview of Cerebral Palsy from physicians and occupational therapists at Mayo Clinic. The students then formed design teams and chose members to act and work in the roles of recorder, model tester, presenter, and team manager while keeping the following essential questions in mind:
• How is a design process used to effectively develop a design solution that solves a problem or addresses a design opportunity?
• Why is communication of design ideas with teams and with stakeholders important throughout the design process?
• What role do team norms play in making a collaborative team more successful?
On the second day of the five-day design challenge, Curt Johnson operated a retail “store” to provide opportunities for students to purchase supplies for their foot orthosis using a teacher given budget. Students were required to present multiview drawings of their designs before they could purchase supplies. Once students had purchased their supplies, sales were final. Students quickly learned the value of their purchases.
Tyler Johnson, Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA), spent day three of the design challenge with the students providing feedback on their materials and designs. Tyler Johnson was able to describe various scenarios in occupational therapy and how they applied to the class project. Students were given day four of the challenge to redesign and modify their AFOs based on Tyler’s feedback.
Teams presented their AFOs on day five. Presentations included modeling and demonstration of the AFO by the team’s model. Team presenters described how their AFOs met (or did not meet) the design criteria set forth on day one and classmates were offered the opportunity to ask questions regarding the AFOs.